Peter Kaffka fonds
Part of:
  • Peter Kaffka (creator)
  • Peter Kaffka (archive creator)

Peter Kaffka fonds


[ca. 1956]-1963

Level of archival description:
Fonds 94
Extent and medium:
  • 6 drawings
    1 reprographic copy
Scope and content:
The Peter Kaffka fonds consists of seven drawings for seven different projects created approximately between 1956 and 1963 when Kaffka was operating his own office. Apart from the architect's scheme for a modernist house well integrated into a natural site, and his A-frame Estonian Church built in 1962, the inventory consists of preliminary studies for high-rise apartment and office buildings. The commission for the 22-storey Imperial Apartments was given to Kaffka by the Campbell brothers developers in lieu of the untimely death of the project's original architect Wells Coates in 1957. Other drawings for tall buildings by Kaffka include schemes for a 12-storey apartment block for the Hungarian-born developer S. Kochan, and an early tower proposal for the Parkview Apartments which, however, bears little resemblance to the revised as-built project with three wings radiating from a central lobby.
Reference number:


Biographical notes:
Budapest, Hungary, 1899 - North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1992

Peter Kaffka (b. 1899, Budapest, Hungary; d. 1992, North Vancouver) graduated from the Royal Hungarian Joseph Polytechnical University in 1925. He worked for architectural firms in Budapest until 1936 when he founded his own practice. Kaffka saw war service from 1941-1945, after which he left for Canada. Between 1945 -1948, he worked for the Ministry of Reconstruction, then joined the Toronto firm Marani & Morris. Moving to Vancouver in 1950, Kaffka was employed that year first by William K. Noppe, then the important office of Sharp & Thompson, Berwick, Pratt. He began his own practice in 1954, became a member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia in 1956, and retired in 1983.

Amongst the notable projects produced by Kaffka are the Grouse Mountain Chalet in North Vancouver, built in 1956, and the Thea Koerner Graduate Centre and House at the University of British Columbia, 1959-1961. With three stories of student centre and the top floor a residence, this building was chiefly conceived by architect Charles E. Pratt with the assistance of Kaffka, Zoltan Kiss and Roy Jessiman. It was awarded a gold Massey Medal for Architecture in 1962.
Conditions governing access:
  • Open for use by qualified researchers. Access by appointment only.
Conditions governing reproduction:
  • Contact the CCA for copyright information and permission to reproduce (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer:
  • The Peter Kaffka fonds was acquired for the exhibition The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963. Organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the exhibition was presented at the CCA in 1997, the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1997-1998, and the Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, in 1998.
Custodial history:
  • The CCA acquired the Peter Kaffka fonds in 1998. The donator is Martin D. Kaffka.
Archivist's note:
  • The Peter Kaffka fonds was originally processed and described by David Rose in 1998. In 2009, the original finding aid was modified, by Alexis Lenk, in order to conform to updated documentation procedures.
Related units of description:
  • Documents related to the Wells Coates' proposal, Vancouver / 3-2 Apartments, which preceded Kaffka's Imperial Apartments, can be found in the CCA's Wells Coates Fonds (AP030).
General note:
  • The publication "The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver 1938-1963", by Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, which accompanied the exhibition of the same name, was used as a source for some of the information on the architect Peter Kaffka, and on the projects in the fonds.

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